The 10/20/30 Rule for Presentations

The idea of the 10/20/30 rule was developed by a famous entrepreneur called Guy Kawasaki and has been used all over the world by business consultants as a general set of guidelines to help people deliver more persuasive presentations.

Recently I have had a few customers come to me to ask for help designing better presentations for them so I thought it would be useful to share some basic information that can help you all make presentations a little more effective.

This is quite a short article and only covers the three rules; there will be another article in the near future that deals with planning the content of presentations.

The 3 Rules for Effective Presentations

The 10/20/30 Rule for Presentations

Rule 1 – 10 Slides

In a short space of time there is a limit to the amount of information that people can absorb. If you have more than 10 content slides the audience will not remember what you have told them. You should also consider that keeping it short also means that the audience is likely to have lots of follow up questions. This is great as it gives you plenty of opportunities to engage with the audience in a natural way when the presentation is done.

How many people will want to ask follow up questions after a 50 slide 60 minute presentation? They will be tired and have probably already forgotten the questions that they had by the time you get to the end anyway.

The 10 slides refers to the content slides so you can probably have a title slide, an index and a thank you slide without breaking the rules too badly.

Pro Tip: If you have to deliver a lot of information and there is no way that you can do it in only 10 slides then separate it into more than one presentation and take a break between sessions.

Rule 2 – 20 Minutes

We have all sat through long presentations so we all know that we lose interest quite rapidly. Keeping the presentation to a maximum of 20 minutes gives the audience a chance to remember what you said without being tired by too much detail.

Giving a time limit also helps to focus on the content that you really need to deliver to achieve the results that you are looking for.

Pro Tip: At the beginning of the presentation it helps a lot to let the audience know the approximate length of the presentation and also tell them that you will answer any questions that they may have at the end, so you are not interrupted and can keep to your schedule.

Rule 3 – 30 Point Text

Keeping the text large will make sure that you keep to the main points and don’t include too much text on the slides. Additional explanation should be either delivered separately in a document or in a separate presentation.

The presenter is supposed to present the information on the slides and explain it. Don’t write all of the words on the slides or the audience can just read the slides and ignore what you are saying.

Also, the size of the room you are in, the size of the screen and how far people are away from the screen are important factors you should take into account when looking at the content that you put on each slide.

Rule 4 – You Can Break the Rules

These are just a guide to get you going in the right direction, the point is to try to keep as close to the rules as you can.

If you would like to find out more, please let us know.

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